July 29, 2015

Basic Checklist: Jackets, Sweaters & Coats

CoatTrench. Tailored Blazer here & here

Hey everyone! We are getting back to basics today and I know you are just as excited as I am.  This category is where I spend the most of my money. Everything else can be on the more inexpensive side but quality here is queen. Today's examples come from J.Crew who specializes in beautiful basics and they are one of my favorite stores for outerwear ;)

1. Coat - See that pink coat above. Ya the bubblegum colored one.  Its my favorite style coat. When I throw words out like structure, this is what comes to mind.  The coat darts in all the right places and nips at the waist. Its seams are beautifully done and its not a 3 piece construction so it actually has a shape and isn't a bland box.  I love everything about it. I'm just waiting for J.Crew to bring back the Camel color....drool.  If you are in the market for a new winter coat click on the link above and study the product pictures. This kind of construction is what you should be searching for regardless of price. Find something in wool, it will be light weight but will totally keep you toasty. Everyone will compliment you on the coat and you will feel like a million dollars. Worth every hard earned penny.

2. Trench - Oh trench coat how I love you! You keep me dry and warm year round, you look fabulous and you go with everything. Worth the few extra dollars for higher quality fabric.  Look for a coat in a classic color, shape and length. I prefer the light tan color over black any day.  Don't get all trendy with it.  Getting something in a bold color or print will be great for the season but it wont last you 10 years. I purchased mine almost 4 years ago and at the time it was an investment, even on sale. But its paid for itself ten fold.

3. Tailored Blazer - The blazer has come a long way in the past decade.  Its no longer only made for men. They aren't down to your knees and two sizes too big. Today's blazers for women are smaller, hitting just above the hips, and fitted in the waist. They are perfect for the office but also are versatile enough to wear out to a date or just dinner. The right fit can take you anywhere. I love the J.Crew one pictured. Its got great lines but the added style of the popped up lapel is what gets me. Insta cool with one piece. I refuse to buy a blazer that isn't lined.  I've found over the years that they just don't hold up as well and eventually lose their shape. Talk about a waist of money. Black and Navy are great for the work place but they also look amazing in colors.  You honestly can't go wrong with a tailored fitted blazer.

4. Leather Jacket - This is one item I'm still on the hunt for. I love a good leather jacket. They are just enough rock and roll to make an every day outfit feel edgy or tune down a too sweet bubble gum look.  If you can't afford real leather you're not alone.  Look for a higher quality pleather that hits at the waist and has great structure and detailing.  Make sure it doesn't smell. Cheaper pleather has that awful plastic/rubber smell and is a dead give away of low quality.

5. Cardigan - You can't go wrong with a light weight knit cardigan.  Whether it hits at the waist and buttons up, perfect for year round use at the office. Or its longer and you layer it up in the fall and winter to keep cozy. This is a must piece. If you don't want to feel like a librarian go for a fun print like leopard. I've seen some seriously great looking cardigans that have fun button details or embellishments.

6. Cashmere Sweater - your jaw just dropped didn't it. You're thinking - A cashmere sweater I'm not made of money. But before you dismiss this one hear me out.  Every year you buy yourself a less expensive sweater but after a few wears and washes its totally lost its original shape. The sleeves have gotten wider from pushing them up, the length just isn't the same and its pilling like a bad sunburn.  Am I right?  Its happened to all of us. We think at the time the bargain is worth it but if you factor in the cost per wear is it really? If properly cared for your cashmere sweater will fit snug against your body and keep you warm for a lifetime of winters. Here are a few tips to finding quality. Be prepared to spend at least $100 or more. Lets just get in that mindset now so we don't get sticker shock down the line. Look for two ply yarn as its stronger than one ply and will hold up better. If you can't tell put your hand under the front of the sweater and hold it up to the light. See the light? Put it back. Turn it inside out. Is the collar band, armholes, cuffs and waist hem knitted into the body of the sweater? If the answer is yes than its less likely that the seams will tear. Be 100% sure its cashmere. Always look at the tag. If its not 100% cashmere put it down and back away. No point in wasting your money. Lay your hands on it. I love this part and the feel of a cashmere sweater is bliss.  Run your hands over the sweater and give it a squeeze. Quality will bounce back and won't wrinkle. If the fabric is itchy expect it to be that way forever.



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